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Documenting Dayton’s trails Trekking the Dayton, Ohio region’s trails with Google technology

By Kristen Wicker Five Rivers MetroParks

network. Getting a helping hand from a Vietnam vet, who loads a kayak in the bed of his truck to portage a quar- ter mile around a low dam. Spotting a bald eagle perched at the edge of a lake. Answering lots of questions about that odd ball-shaped thing strapped to a pack.


These are the tales from the trail with the Google Trekker. From mid-June through mid-Octo-

ber, Five Rivers MetroParks staff and volunteers from Dayton Hikers partici- pated in Google’s Street View Trekker loan program— capturing 360-degree imagery of the Dayton area’s hiking, mountain biking, equestrian, water, and paved trails in Google Maps. The project was a partnership between Five Rivers MetroParks and Outdoor Adventure Connection that will give everyone access to explore

eeting a long-distance trucker while he bikes the nation’s largest paved trail

panoramic street view-like “treks” of these trails.

“Google Trekker will create an interactive view of our trails and helps make Google Maps more comprehen- sive and useful for all,” said Amy Dingle, director of outdoor connections for Five Rivers MetroParks. “This will help with trip planning and be a great asset to showcase Dayton as the Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Midwest.”

Google is now enabling third par-

ties to borrow its Street View Trekker and collect imagery of unique places and local communities. The technology enables visitors to connect with special places in a new and immersive way. Dayton-area volunteers trekked


 hiking trails in all 18 Five Rivers MetroParks, as well as in some sub- urban parks

   trails

Wayfinding signs on the trail

 well as flat water paddling destina- tions

“We hope that showcasing the

nation’s largest paved trail network, along with other trails, on Google Maps will be a huge opportunity for users to become comfortable and knowledgeable with the trails,” said Brent Anslinger, outdoor recreation program manager for Five Rivers MetroParks. “Hopefully, we will see increased tourism and awareness of the network.”

Being on the trail with the Google

Street View Trekker created lots of con- versations that allowed staff and vol- unteers to educate the public about the Dayton region’s many trail-related assets.

 14 FALL 2016

“The public was really interested when they saw the Google Trekker, and the project went really well,” said Andy Niekamp, owner of Outdoor Adventure Connection and an avid hiker. “We were fortunate to have some dedicated volunteers. It was hard work. The pack isn’t that comfy, and it’s really heavy. We had to make sure we caught every section of all the trails.”

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